Lunch Actually Review, Part 3: Going Through Image Coaching

This is part 3 of my review series on Lunch Actually, a lunch dating company in Asia, after trying out their service in 2012. Opinions expressed here are my own. If you are new to this series, read Part 1: Joining Lunch Actually and Part 2: Consultation and Enrollment first.

Quite a few people have been excitedly asking me how my journey with Lunch Actually is going. Well, here’s part 3! The next update should be date-related depending on what LA has planned for me. We’ll see! :)

After Initial Enrollment

So after the initial consultation (which I wrote about in Part 2: Consultation and Enrollment), I officially enrolled in LA on a 5-date package. The next step for any member is to wait for LA to match him/her up with other members in the database (which takes about 4-6 weeks, as the matching includes computerized matching and manual matching by a consultant), after which he/she will go on his/her first date.

Since I’m writing about LA’s services, Violet (CEO of Lunch Actually) recommended me to experience their full suite of services, which includes image/style coaching and date coaching on top of the dates. (Like the dates, these services will be complimentary, courtesy of LA.)

While I did not feel that there are any issues with my image or communication skills, I thought, Why not? There’s always something to learn and something to improve on, even if it’s not something that I feel I need help in at the moment. Besides, coaching is always about further improvement, not something that you seek because you feel there is a problem to be resolved.

So I agreed!

* The rest of this article is about my experience going through image coaching and has nothing to do with the dates. If you just want to read about the date process, skip ahead to part 4. However, I share useful image tips in this article, so it’s good to read and learn something for yourself!

Image Coaching with Antonia (Style Refinery)

Image/style coaching and date coaching are two add-on services that Lunch Actually offers on top of their usual dating packages (I discuss my date coaching experience in part 5). These are completely separate services from the LA date package and cost a separate fee. I’m not sure how much it is but it’s not cheap since you’re working with a personal coach here*. They added this service in June 2012 (that’s 2 months ago as of this writing in Aug 2012), so it’s a relatively new offering.

For this service, they have partnered with Antonia*, Style Coach and Founder of Style Refinery. Her one-to-one coaching includes:

  1. Color Analysis – In-depth analysis of your skin tone and facial features to determine the best colors and color patterns that would match your skin. (3-4 hours)
  2. Body Line Analysis – Analysis of your body shape and body proportions to determine the type of clothes that will best complement your body. (2-3 hours)
  3. Makeup Coaching – Step-by-step makeup tutorial on the makeup you should use and the right way to apply the makeup such that you would achieve the best look. (1-2 hours)
  4. Wardrobe Audit – Assessment of the clothes in your wardrobe based on how well they match your skin tone, body line, and personal style. (4 hours)
  5. Personal Shopping – A personal shopping trip where you get personalized advice on where you should shop and the kind of clothes and accessories that will best match your skin tone, body line, and personal style. (Half to full day)

Update: I’ve since learned from Antonia that she is no longer working with Lunch Actually since 2013.

I underwent Antonia’s full coaching package, with the exception of wardrobe audit as it’s not very relevant to me.

My Takeaways

I have learned many great tips from Antonia’s coaching, which lasted 2 full days.

Before the coaching, I’d say that I had a clear opinion of my style preferences and I was somewhat knowledgeable about makeup, clothing, colors, and skincare. Despite that, I still picked up many great tips from Antonia. She is passionate about her work and she is clearly good at what she does.

Personal shopping with Antonia

Out personal shopping with Antonia (this was taken at Future State at Wisma Atria). Here, she is picking the maxi-dresses that best match my skin tone and body shape. (Photo: Personal Excellence)

What I love most about Antonia’s coaching is that she tailored it around me, rather than giving cookie-cutter advice. She spent the first hour understanding my values, personal aspirations, and personal style. The coaching thereafter was based on my personality, my desired style, my natural facial features, my natural body shape and proportions, and my skin tone.

Here are some of the many useful things I have picked up:

  • First impressions matter—a lot. During my first date, it’s important that I wear clothes and accessories that match my true personality and desired image rather than picking the most fashionable clothes and putting on the most dramatic makeup. Guys are quick to judge a girl based on what she wears when they first see her, which can be as fast as the first 3 seconds. (I believe this holds true for females too.) Even if you feel that you don’t judge others by clothing, as humans, we do make judgments about people based on what they wear. For example, imagine a guy or girl wearing a singlet and boxers to your first date together. What would you think? Whether it’s a good or bad thought, it’d still be a judgment, because the fact is you do not know him/her well yet.
  • My style personality is feminine and romantic, with a touch of drama. :D (This was determined from a questionnaire I did with Antonia.) Hence, I should wear clothes, accessories, and makeup congruent with this style.
    Style Personality Questionaire

    (© Style Refinery)

  • My body shape is hour glass leaning towards a triangle figure/ pear shape.
  • Besides the fact that I’m 1.7m, I look tall because the length between my knee and foot is longer than the length between my knee and crotch area. If the inverse were true, I would have looked shorter even at the same height!! This means that dresses slightly above my knee will look good on me as they accentuate my height. Maxi-dresses work well for me as well due to my height, something that I already know from experience.
  • Color analysis:
    • My natural skin tone is warm. The color palette that best matches my skin is the Warm Spring color palette (out of 12 possible palettes). Hence, I should wear clothes, accessories, and makeup that match this palette, to bring out the natural colors in my skin and features. See below:
      Different color palettes against my skin

      On the left, Warm Spring color palette against my skin; on the right, Deep Winter color palette. Notice how the Warm Spring palette complements and brings out the color of my skin while the Deep Winter palette makes me look washed out instead? (Photo: Personal Excellence)

    • Color intensity:
      • Due to the contrasting colors of my eye (black pupil with clear and white iris), hair (jet black), and my skin tone (fair), I have a color intensity that is moderate to high. This means that I look best in clothes that have a moderate to high contrast (such as dark jeans with grey top, regular denim with white top, and dark jeans with white top). I should not wear clothes with low contrast (such as dark jeans with black top or stone washed jeans with white top) or I will look very washed out. This is very interesting as I typically already pick clothing color combinations of high to moderate contrast!
      • If you have a low color intensity (light hair with light skin, or dark hair with dark skin), wear clothes that are low in color intensity; a high color intensity color combination will create attention around your clothes and not you.
  • Makeup tips:
    • Apply proper skin care before you apply makeup. Often times, one’s skin becomes oily after putting on makeup because (a) it’s trying to protect itself from the potential external aggressors (such as some makeup ingredients, air pollutants), and (b) it’s trying to protect your skin as it is dehydrated in the inner layers. You should apply proper skin care to protect your skin from those aggressors and to keep your skin hydrated. Use oil-free moisturizer if you tend to suffer from breakouts, but don’t skip this step.
    • Put sunblock, always (recommended: minimum SPF 25, with PA++, ideally SPF 30 to 40 with PA+++). Very important! PA protects your skin from UVA rays which causes aging such as fine lines, age spots, sagging, etc. Antonia refers to UVA rays as the “invisible killer” as they do not tan or burn out skin like UVB rays but they definitely damage our skin. These rays can reach us via the windows of our rooms, so even if you stay indoors, it is still important for you to apply sun block. I had never bothered with sunblock but will be more diligent about it from now on.
    • Foundation application
      • When applying foundation on your cheek and nose areas, you should start from the center of your face and stroke the sponge outwards and downwards (and not upwards or in different directions). This is because our facial hair grows in a downward direction on those areas. Brushing the sponge in a different direction will mess up the hairline and make your pores more prominent.
      • When applying foundation on your forehead, you should start from the area between your eyebrows and stroke the sponge upwards and outwards, like a fountain that is flowing with water. Again, the intent is to match the direction of hair growth on the forehead.
    • Eyebrow makeup makes a big difference. So don’t neglect that! I had never bothered with eyebrow makeup before as I had always had a fringe in the past, but now that I’m growing out my fringe, I plan to include eyebrows in my makeup regime.
    • I had never bothered with mascara before because I felt that it didn’t make much difference in the final look. However, Antonia pointed out that it does make a big difference—especially to others. That’s because we only see our front view (when we look into the mirror), whereas others see us from the side most of the time. The special touch that mascara adds is in our side view, because it enhances our facial profile (by making it look more “3-dimensional”). Example:
      Mascara difference

      My right eye here has mascara, while my left eye has no mascara. It’s not so obvious in this picture due to the low picture quality, but it does make a difference in person. (Photo: Personal Excellence)

    • Use makeup to enhance your favorite features. So if you like your eyes the most, play up on your eyes. If your lips are among your best assets, play up on them.
    • When applying your eyeliner, imagine a line that connects the end of your nostril with the outer edge of your eye. Now, extend that line further. Your eyeliner should not go beyond this line. Illustration below:
      Eyeliner application

      (Image: Total Beauty)

  • Clothing and Accessory Tips:
    • If you want to look slimmer, go for clothing with asymmetrical cuts (togas, off-shoulder tops) or asymmetrical designs (designs that do not look uniform). Don’t go for clothing that cuts in a horizontal line as it would emphasize the width of your body. I’ve always been a fan of togas, off-shoulders, and asymmetrical designs because I think they look very elegant and beautiful! 

      Everyone has a different body type (ranging from Hourglass, to Triangle, to Inverted Triangle, to Rectangle, to Round), and not all clothes will fit everyone. Your objective is not to force fit your body to conform to certain clothes. Rather, you should look for the right type of clothes that will fit your body type.

    • Create a balanced look with your jewelry. If you’re wearing long or heavy earrings, stay away from neck jewelry that is close to the neck (e.g. chokers, short necklaces, elaborate and short necklaces). Similarly, if you want to wear very “heavy” jewelry that’s close to your neck, go with short and simple earrings (earrings that’s the length of your nose or longer are considered long). Otherwise, it will look very “heavy” around your face area, like the picture below:
      Heavy jewelry

      (Image: Ali Express)

    • When matching clothes and accessories:
      • You should make sure the “weight” is evenly distributed between your upper and lower body. Your upper body should not look “heavier” than your lower body, and vice versa. Otherwise, you will look too top or bottom-heavy.
      • If you have a bottom-heavy body shape with hips that are wider than your shoulders and a large tummy, you should bring attention to your upper body (through shorter necklaces, earrings, clothes that have a higher waistline, etc.).
      • If you have a top-heavy body shape with shoulders that are wider than the widest part of your hips, you should bring attention to your lower body (through bangles, lower belt, rings, clothes with a lower waistline, etc.).
    • Are you wearing your clothes? Or are your clothes wearing you? I love this tip by Antonia. If you want to know whether a piece of clothing or accessory is good for you, wear it, stand in front of your mirror, and close your eyes. Open them after 2-3 seconds. Which do you see first? The clothing/accessory or you? You should see yourself first, as the objective of a clothing/accessory is to draw attention to you (not itself).

My Overall Assessment

All in all, it was a very fruitful session! I learned many great image and style tips from Antonia, which will undoubtedly go a long way in my personal and professional life.

I realized that my favorite outfits in the past might have been incongruent with my real self. For example, I love fancy and fashionable stockings—it’s a fashion piece I picked up when in UK. However, some people in Singapore/Asia typically associate stockings with “party girl,” “wild,” and “racy”—all of which are completely opposite of my real personality. It doesn’t mean that I can’t wear fancy stockings; it just means that there are better clothing choices for my first-time meetups with others (date-related or not).

I realized that image is not about wearing the most fashionable or professional clothes, donning the most dramatic accessories, or putting on the most eye-catching makeup, but about creating a look that is congruent with your real self. This is probably my biggest and most important takeaway from the coaching.

I would say the coaching was A to A+ for me. If you would like to improve your current image or get an image overhaul (be it for your personal life or professional life), you should most definitely check out Antonia’s services. Visit her site at (Update 2013: Antonia has subsequently paused her work at Style Refinery to focus on other projects.)

Me and Antonia

Me and Antonia, at her home. I was wearing the bib as we were doing my makeup. (Photo: Personal Excellence)

My Final Words

The most important thing to note here is that image and style coaching is not about making yourself look like someone you aren’t. It’s about creating a physical image that’s congruent with your real, natural, and ideal self. This is something Antonia preaches and it’s something I completely agree myself.

You can be extremely fashionable but your clothes may not reflect your real personality. Or you may have a great personality but you do not put attention into the clothes you wear. Or you may have a very fun personality but have a wardrobe filled with serious and dull wear. Whatever it is, when your image does not accurately portray your real self, you are doing yourself a disservice, because you may repel like-minded people away because they think you are someone you aren’t.

Here are some questions I’d like you to think about as I end this post:

  1. What is the image you want to project to others? This image should naturally be congruent with your ideal self.
  2. Does your current image and style match up to this image?
  3. If no, how can you change your image and style such that it will be congruent to your desired image?

Do check out Be a Better Me in 30 Days which is my premium 30-day program to become a better you.

With this, let’s move on to part 4: The Date Process!, where I share about the date process and my experience with my dates!

This is part 3 of my review series on Lunch Actually, a lunch dating company in Asia, after trying out their service in 2012. Opinions expressed here are my own. If you are new to this series, read Part 1: Joining Lunch Actually and Part 2: Consultation and Enrollment first.